Cubs announce coaches, coordinators in Minors
The Cubs named new Minor League pitching and hitting coordinators on Thursday while setting their staffs for 2016.
Former big league pitcher Jim Brower was Chicago's choice to oversee the organization's pitching efforts, replacing Derek Johnson, who went to the Brewers to serve as manager Craig Counsell's pitching coach. Brower appeared in 354 games over nine Major League seasons before working as a pitching coach for a pair of Royals affiliates, the last three years at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
On the hitting side, the Cubs hired Andy Haines, who managed the past seven seasons in Miami's Minor League system. He spent the past two years at Triple-A New Orleans. Haines replaces Anthony Iapoce, who was hired as the Rangers' hitting coach.
Chicago's other Minor League coordinators remained the same: Tim Cossins will return as field and catching coordinator, Jose Flores as infield coordinator, Doug Dascenzo as outfield and baserunning coordinator, Dave Keller as Latin America field coordinator, Mike Mason as assistant pitching coordinator and Tom Beyers as assistant hitting coordinator. It will be Beyers' 17th season with the organization.
The Cubs also set the coaching staffs at their Minor League affiliates, with two managers swapping spots: Mark Johnson moved from Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach to Double-A Tennessee and Buddy Bailey headed from Tennessee to Myrtle Beach.
Last season, Johnson guided Myrtle Beach to an 81-57 record in the regular season and its first Carolina League Championship since 2000. The year before that, he skippered Class A Kane County to 91 wins.
Other new managers in the system are Jesus Feliciano, who will manage low Class A short season Eugene after spending last season as Class A South Bend's hitting coach, and Claudio Almonte, who was promoted from hitting coach to manager in the Rookie level Dominican Summer League.
In the coaching ranks, the Cubs made a handful of notable additions to the organization. Former Major Leaguer Rod Nichols, who spent the last three years as the Phillies' Major League bullpen coach, will be the pitching coach at Triple-A Iowa in his 17th season as an instructor. And another former Major Leaguer, Terry Clark, will be the pitching coach at Tennessee. Clark was the Mariners' Minor League pitching coordinator for the past two years.
In the Rookie level Arizona League, the Cubs chose a pair of familiar names to serve as co-hitting coaches. Jeremy Farrell is the son of Red Sox manager John Farrell, and begins his first season as a coach after a seven-year Minor League career. Chris Valaika, who played in 99 Major League games with the Reds (2010-11), Marlins ('13) and Cubs ('14), also begins his first year as a coach in the organization.